On a heat Saturday in early October 2020, Meeting candidate Laurie Davies, barefoot and sporting white shorts, stood on a sandy plot close to the San Clemente Pier and denounced sure propositions on that November’s poll.
Davies, a Laguna Niguel mayor who went on to defeat Democrat Scott Rhinehart within the 73rd District, mentioned nearly nothing about Donald Trump regardless of her being at a re-election rally.
Her solely eyebrow-raising assertion on the occasion: “I actually consider COVID has been a blessing as a result of we dwell in Southern California.”
However now her Democratic Meeting rival, Chris Duncan, is refocusing on the emcee of the rally — Alan Hostetter.
A billboard on South Santa Fe Avenue in Vista, a part of Davies’ new 74th Meeting District, exhibits a picture from the October 3, 2020, rally. The signal says: “Laurie Davies stood with a convicted January 6 felon. Actually.”
Hostetter was convicted in July 2023 of 4 felony costs, together with carrying a harmful or lethal weapon on Capitol grounds. However in October 2020 — three months forward of the rebellion — he was recognized primarily as a former La Habra police chief who turned an anti-lockdown activist.
This week, Hostetter reported to a low-security federal jail in Oakdale, Louisiana, to serve an 11-year, 3-month sentence for his half within the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots. Inmate 49779-509, age 59, has a listed launch date of Aug. 14, 2033.
Republican Davies defeated Duncan, a San Clemente Metropolis Council member, in 2022 and is uninterested in being linked once more to Hostetter in a billboard seen as deceptive by journalism and political consultants. (Davies’ 5-minute look in video begins about 53 minutes in.)
“That is such previous information,” Davies instructed Occasions of San Diego on Monday after returning to Sacramento. “That is the fourth time that I ran towards Chris Duncan and he’s used this each single time. … It’s sort of the same-old same-old.”
Davies, 61, famous her 2022 endorsement by The San Diego Union-Tribune, which disregarded her Trump rally gaffe and mentioned Duncan answered too many U-T questions in generalities.
“This doesn’t bode nicely for the previous U.S. Customs and Border Safety legal professional being the impartial thinker Sacramento wants,” the editorial mentioned.
In response to my billboard inquiries, Duncan, 48, depicted Davies as a MAGA extremist.
“It’s been three years for the reason that assault on the Capitol, and Davies nonetheless hasn’t condemned Hostetter, Russ Taylor or the opposite violent insurrectionists who tried to overthrow the US authorities on January sixth,” he mentioned through e-mail.
“As a substitute of setting the document straight, she tries to cover her affiliation with Hostetter and would like all of us overlook in regards to the marketing campaign rally and the rebellion. Given her refusal to sentence Hostetter, and even converse on this concern, it seems she nonetheless helps the convicted felon Hostetter and likewise nonetheless helps Donald Trump even after the 91 felony counts returned towards him by a grand jury of on a regular basis Individuals.”
Duncan marketing campaign strategist Dan Rottenstreich added: “There isn’t a accountable public servant in America who wouldn’t publicly and repeatedly denounce a supporter who was convicted for his or her violent function in January 6. He was labeled a terrorist by his personal authorities and Davies can’t appear to seek out the phrases to denounce him.”
In a December information launch, Duncan quoted San Diego County Democratic Social gathering chair Becca Taylor as saying:
Laurie Davies’ political affiliation with a January sixth capitol insurrectionist isn’t simply disqualifying, it’s disturbing. Laurie Davies shared a stage for her election with this violent terrorist and has repeatedly refused to sentence him. The general public must know that whilst justice is meted out to the terrorists who stormed the Capitol, their political allies stay in workplace proper right here in our neighborhood.
Davies willingly addressed such points with me, nonetheless.
“With no query the underside line is … anybody who commits violence of any form must be prosecuted,” Davis declared in a cellphone interview, and mentioned she didn’t even know Hostetter.
“That was a rally in San Clemente. … We go to loads of these,” she mentioned, “in order that was the primary time that I met him.”
She’s had no contact with him since, she mentioned.
Does she have a choice for the GOP presidential nomination?
“You realize what? No,” Davies mentioned the day earlier than the New Hampshire main put Trump on the glide path to a Nov. 5 rematch with Joe Biden. “I suppose what I need to do is simply see the way it performs out within the main — like buckle up.”
In line with celebration registration information in Orange and San Diego counties, Democrats make up 35.4% of 74th District voters with Republicans behind at 34.6% within the coastal district stretching from south Orange County to Vista and Oceanside.
However on the October 2020 rally, earlier than redistricting, Davies known as her district “one of many most secure within the nation” for Republicans.
However Duncan isn’t protected from criticism over his billboard and wordplay.
“Sure, the billboard is deceptive,” mentioned Carl Luna, visiting professor of political science on the College of San Diego and director of the Institute for Civil Civic Engagement. “On the time, she was not standing with a convicted felon. The person hadn’t been convicted nor even participated in January 6 but.”
Luna famous the nuance of the assault.
“What they have been attempting to say was that now three years later, she’s by no means distanced her self publicly from the person which could possibly be construed to proceed to face with him,” he mentioned through e-mail.
“However once you’re paying by the phrase on a billboard, they went for brevity if not accuracy. And in an age the place many of the members of 1 political celebration, and their candidates proceed to say the election of 2020 was stolen and January 6 was not an precise rebellion, nitpicking over an advert displaying considered one of their candidates hanging out with anyone who later went on to the Capitol is considerably hypocritical.”
Longtime journalist Brooke Binkowski, a Occasions of San Diego contributing editor who previously led groups of fact-checkers at Snopes.com and TruthOrFiction.com, mentioned her websites in all probability would have labeled the billboard as “principally true” or a “combination,” since Hostetter hadn’t gone to the Capitol but.
“Duncan may have simply as simply mentioned that she didn’t distance herself from Hostetter, or that he was extraordinarily problematic and a recognized racist nicely earlier than he was at 1/6, which can be true,” she mentioned.
“It’s unlucky that was how he selected to phrase it as a result of … it makes it simple to poke holes in.”
Situated above a pawnshop at 546 S. Santa Fe Ave., the Duncan-bought billboard went up final Thursday however is seen solely by westbound vacationers — a mean of seven,847 automobiles a day, say metropolis information. (Westbound visitors sees a billboard for North County legal professional King Aminpour.)
Duncan has no different billboards up, however the California Democratic Social gathering purchased one seen to eastbound motorists on state Freeway 78 on the Vista-Oceanside border.
That one says: “When she had an opportunity, Laurie Davies refused to present police extra instruments to resolve fentanyl crimes,” with small print saying: “AB 102, 6/27/23, $6,666,000 for fentanyl enforcement, Davies skipped the vote.”
On June 27, Davies was listed as NVR (no vote recorded) for the invoice later signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. She was a “no” vote on March 23, 2023.
In an announcement to Occasions of San Diego, the state Democratic Social gathering mentioned: “Whereas fentanyl overdoses surge, Republicans like Laurie Davies skipped out on a key vote to step up California’s opioid emergency response. San Diegans ought to find out about Laurie Davies’ failures maintain her accountable within the Meeting, and in the end on the poll field.”
Davies describes AB 102 as a trailer invoice added to the finances, “and I believe everyone knows that voting for that was reckless once you have a look at a $68 billion deficit.”
“I let individuals know I’ve each single legislation enforcement in California’s endorsement and I’ve labored on two payments that we bought previous relating to fentanyl and we’ve got one other one which they’re backing proper now,” she mentioned.
“So once more, [the billboard is] simply one thing to have the ability to put up there. However , the very last thing we have to do is spending more cash once we don’t have it.”